Particularly when the dog has little to no toy drive.... I'm having two different problems with my two. First I'll look at Summer. I decided to break it up into steps for her. Summer is a dog that the idea that you can pick up an object and make it fun is a foreign concept that has never crossed her mind... So I thought first I will teach her to mouth an object, then I will teach her to hold an object. Then I will teach her to pick up an object off the floor. Then I will teach her to go retrieve an object i've thrown. So I chose a nylabone for the object for the time being. I wold hold it about mouth level for Summer and click when she'd lean in to sniff it. Gradually I phased it to where I would click if she mouthed it, then if the whole thing was in her mouth. So now I've got her reliably putting her mouth around the object. But I am stumped on how to train the and 'hold it' part. She will spit the nylabone out immediately. I've tried clicking for ones where she hesitates slightly before spitting it out, but it doesn't seem to get us consistently anywhere. She will usually revert back to "Oh no, I don't know what I'm doing..." and sniff at it or paw at it instead of biting it. Is there a better way to break this up and teach it? How do you get a dog to realize they should keep ahold of the object you're handing them? Then Mia... this is one of those unusual cases where Mia is easier than summer. Mia's response to an object is to put it in her mouth and carry it around naturally. The problem I'm having is if I ask her to pick an item up off the floor, she does... then she proceeds to tear the crap out of it. How do you teach the dog to pick something up and hold it without them trying to shred it immediately? I also don't want to squash her toy drive either though.